With three Super League 2022 games left in the regular season all attention is now focussed on who will end round 27 in the top six and hence make the play-offs.
While St Helens are a draw away from securing the Minor Premiership, they have games against Wigan, Wakefield and Toulouse in which to get it. Toulouse are all but mathematically relegated after a brave fight and would need to win against the Catalans, Hull FC and St Helens while either Wakefield (Hull KR, St Helens, Huddersfield) or Warrington Wolves (Castleford, Huddersfield, Salford) lose all of their remaining games by some horrific points margin.
Attention really does switch to the middle of the table.
Warrington and Wakefield cannot make the play offs, and Wigan and Huddersfield are secure in the top six and simply jostling for position.
With Hull KR and Hull FC still to play each other this season it is impossible for them both to make the play offs, and with their points differences it means that they are both very unlikely to extend their season without winning their remaining three games coupled with a massive disaster from two of the three sides immediately above them, for us you can count them both out of the race for the six.
The Catalans Dragons need one more win to secure their place, as Salford and Castleford must play each other in round twenty-seven. A slip up from Toulouse, Leeds or Wigan would mean they are into the end of season jamboree, and we predict that will be the case.
Leeds are in the box seat from the remaining three sides with a single point advantage over the chasers despite an awful start to the season. New coach Rohan Smith has worked a minor miracle to even give them a chance of the play offs so who is to say that they won´t maintain their five-game winning streak and beat Huddersfield, Catalans and Castleford to finish comfortably in the six. Should they lose their three remaining games (Huddersfield, Catalans, Castleford) then they open the door for Salford and Castleford to push them out of the six. The Rhinos final game of the season against Castleford could be critical. Leeds are still favourites out of the remaining three and we predict that they will win two of their remaining three fixtures to end the season on twenty-nine points, but if they register a loss tonight against the Giants, that will raise the jeopardy.
Salford Red Devils have games against Hull FC, Castleford and Warrington and it looks like the round twenty-six game against Castleford could be the play off for the play offs, the winner having a big advantage. Salford are the form team, while the Tigers season is waning, and we expect that it will be the Red Devils who take the advantage. We predict that Salford will win all their three remaining fixtures and end the season on thirty points, one above the Rhinos in fifth place.
Castleford have gone off the boil at the wrong end of the season and we think it will cost them a play off place. They must play Warrington, Salford and Leeds and we think that they will only collect the points in tomorrow nights fixture against a woeful Warrington which will see them end the season on twenty-six points and firmly in seventh spot.
After all that analysis, our top six prediction is; Saints, Wigan, Huddersfield, Catalans, Salford, Leeds. Leeds Rhinos would travel to Huddersfield Giants in the play offs, with Salford Red Devils going to face the Catalans Dragons. Saints and Wigan Warriors with bye´s to the second weekend.